How to Recycle Gift Cards & Gift Wrap

They say the best gifts come in small packages, but even those can present big waste challenges. Can gift wrap be recycled? Can I recycle gift cards? And are there viable alternatives? We have answers.

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Frequent Gift Card & Gift Wrap Recycling Questions

Can I recycle gift cards in my curbside recycling?

No, you will need to find a drop-off location or mail-in program for gift cards. If the cards are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), you can send them to Earthworks Systems, a mail-in program that recycles PVC. Some retailers have also begun using biodegradable paper or wood gift cards, which can be recycled more easily through curbside programs or composted.

Do retailers recycle gift cards when they get turned in?

This depends on the retailer. The one company that was accepting cards from retailers on a regular basis, Earthworks Systems, has discontinued the service.

Do gift cards get recycled into new gift cards?

If they are recycled, PVC cards get recycled into new PVC, which can in turn be made into things like new gift cards, hotel key cards, signs and luggage tags.

Can I recycle gift boxes and bags?

Yes. Gift boxes are often accepted by curbside recycling programs. Gift bags are a little more difficult to recycle, but you should be able to find a drop-off location that accepts them. Also see if your community has recycling events for collection of holiday decorations and similar items.

Can I recycle gift wrap?

It depends on the kind of paper you have. Some papers contain additives like glitter or plastics, which cannot be recycled. Wrapping paper without these additives can often be recycled through your curbside program, so check with your local program. Check to see if your community has any wrapping paper recycling events or use the Earth911 recycling locator to find a local option, if any are available.